Following yesterday's rumors of Watford wanting to sign up Nathan Ake for at least another season, either on loan or permanently, the young Chelsea loanee commented on his future to the Dutch national team's website. (I can't find the original source for this, but Ake is in the Dutch U21 squad for this week's international friendlies against Norway and Serbia.)
"Of course, I would like to return to Chelsea. But it is important for a player of my age to get regular playing time. Things have been going pretty well this season. I am getting plenty of gametime and I really feel like I am improving as a player."
"Let's see how the season ends with Watford and then we can start thinking about the future."
-Nathan Ake; source: Evening Standard
There's always a big but, as they say. Of course Nathan Ake wants to play for Chelsea. But play is the operative word, especially after a season full of first-team action at fellow Premier League side Watford, who, for much of the season, have actually been well above Chelsea in the table. They probably won't finish above Chelsea, but the quality gap is shrinking and Watford isn't in the ass-end of nowhere either, geographically and culturally speaking.
That said, if Chelsea do give Ake a proper chance, he just might have a shot. Branislav Ivanovic is not getting any younger, nor better, and Cesar Azpilicueta has endured a patchy season just as the rest of the squad have. Beyond them, we have Baba Rahman, who's failed to make the impact we might have expected after his stellar season in Germany, and ... well, that's it! Ola Aina has disappeared off the radar, while the likes of Christensen and Kalas are not realistic full back options anymore. And speaking of realistic, as much as I'd love it, I'm fairly certain the Todd Kane ship has sailed as well.
So, there's probably a chance for Ake to grab a spot in the squad. The big question, as always, is whether that's the best next step for him.